PLAINFIELD — State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is pleased to learn more than $100 million will go toward bridging the digital divide in schools across the state and protecting the safety of both students and teachers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

photo 1503676260728 1c00da094a0b“Every student in the state deserves a quality education and should not be hindered by access to technology,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Technology is a critical tool in learning and we must invest in it to give students the resources they need to succeed.”

More than $108 million in federal Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funds have been allocated to preK-12 public education and higher education institutions to meet the unique challenges of COVID-19. 

A total of $10 million of the funds will support early childhood education programs, while K-12 schools will receive $50 million to close the digital divide, train educators and parents and supply social-emotional supports for students. 

In total, school districts will receive $32.5 million to purchase laptops and tablets and $7.5 million to purchase WiFi hotspots and increase internet connectivity for students and their families. 

Higher education institutions will receive $49 million, most of which will go directly to public universities and community colleges to help students overcome barriers created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The funds will allow students across the state to have access to essential tools they need to be successful in school,” Bertino-Tarrant, who serves as chair of the Senate’s education committee, said. “We need to support students by closing the digital literacy gap and ensuring equitable technology access for all.”


PLAINFIELD — The state’s education package spearheaded by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood), which will provide assistance and relief to teachers and schools that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, became law today.

“Teachers and students are dealing with a situation they could have never planned for, so it’s our responsibility to ensure they get the support they need,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Our educators must be equipped with the right tools to give students a quality education — even if they do so from a distance.”

The education package does a number of things to help students and teachers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes extending educator license renewals for one year, so teachers don’t have to go through the renewal process while working remotely. It also allows for mandatory tests to be taken remotely, so students don’t have to risk getting sick in order to take an exam they need to apply for college.

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PLAINFIELD — To provide relief and flexibility to property tax owners, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) supported a new law that will defer tax sales and give counties the ability to extend homestead exemptions and waive late fees.

“Property taxes can often be a financial burden, but that burden has risen for many because of the public health crisis,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This new law will provide some relief to our residents.”

Under this legislation, local businesses and residents would see property tax relief in the form of:

  • Empowering county governments to approve 2020 homestead exemptions for those with disabilities, veterans with disabilities and senior citizens, as long as the property had been granted this exemption for 2019;
  • Allowing counties with less than 3 million residents to waive interest penalties and fees for late property tax payments due in 2020;
  • Deferring property tax sales.

County assessment officers can still conduct audits of taxpayers claiming an exemption in order to verify the applicant is eligible to receive the senior citizen’s assessment freeze through the homestead exemption.

The measure — found in Senate Bill 685 — also defers tax sales and gives the county the authority to waive property tax interest penalties.

The measure was signed by Gov. JB Pritzker Friday and took immediate effect.

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Plainfield) released the following statement in response to the Illinois Senate’s passage of a state budget for Fiscal Year 2021:

“As expected, the budget priorities for our state were altered due to the worldwide pandemic. I am glad funding for our schools were held flat and local governments will continue to receive funding through these difficult times. In addition, we focused on funding for our families, unemployment needs, businesses impacted by COVID-19 and local public safety.

“This budget was cut by nearly $1 billion from the governor’s initial proposal and does not include legislators’ pay increases. It does include full pension payments and ensures our needed construction projects continue.

“I recognize our budget will take advantage of much needed federal support, as all states’ budgets will,  but the Senate worked hard, in a bipartisan manner, to address our state’s greatest concerns and direct dollars accordingly.”



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